It’s UAH against the WCHA, but not in hockey

A fun little post during the off week…

This weekend, the UAH softball team has its traditional season-opening extravaganza with the Charger Chillout at the Metro Kiwanis Sportsplex. The Chargers get things started Friday at 1 p.m. with a game against a familiar name to UAH hockey fans: Ferris State.

It got me wondering, how many times have we played schools in the WCHA in sports other than hockey?

For many schools in the league, seeing the same opponents in other sports is not uncommon because they share the same primary conference. Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage are in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference; Bemidji State and Minnesota State are in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference; and Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, and Northern Michigan are in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Bowling Green, which used to be in the CCHA with Western Michigan and Miami (Ohio), still battle those schools in Mid-American Conference play.

But for UAH, until other Gulf South Conference schools decide to add varsity hockey (snicker), seeing other WCHA schools — or any hockey clubs in Division I for that matter — outside of hockey is and will be a rare occurrence.

It’s happened four times: Two in men’s basketball and, before UAH plays Ferris on Friday, twice in softball.

The first time in softball was in 2003 — in Las Vegas of all places. UAH defeated Minnesota State 6-5.

The second softball occurrence happened just like this season: Ferris State played in the 2010 Charger Chillout in Decatur. The Chargers defeated the Bulldogs 8-2, led by Erin Duke’s three-hit (with a homer), five RBI performance.

The two men’s basketball games were part of important milestones in the UAH program.

The first came in 2011, in the Chargers’ first appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. In a brilliant, exciting game, UAH lost to Minnesota State, 95-91 in overtime. Jamie Smith paced the Chargers with 30 points.

The second came in 2012, when UAH became the first Division II team to play in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Chargers, only down six at halftime, lost to Bowling Green, 68-54. Connor Blasi had 14 points  to lead UAH.

In all, UAH is 2-2 against Division I/WCHA hockey schools outside of hockey. Let’s make it 3-2 on Friday, yes? Go Chargers!